Guest Blog Post By: Patrick Trochaniak, Marketing Coordinator at Smile.io
Your rewards program has the ability to set you apart from your competitors, which means you shouldn’t settle for mediocre results. Crafting the perfect program takes time, so don’t abandon ship if you're not getting the results you were expecting right away! Instead, take a look at these seven tips that will definitely help you start seeing the results you want.
1) Simplify Your Explainer Page to Avoid Customer Confusion
If new customers can’t understand how your program works, you can’t expect them to join it. An explainer page is a great way to do that because it allows you to answer all of your program’s frequently asked questions in one place. The trick is that you need to simplify your explainer page so that customers can understand your program at a glance. Confusing customers is a surefire way to have an unsuccessful rewards program.
One of my favorite explainer pages is for Muscle & Strength Rewards because it’s super skimmable and highly visual. Within four seconds I know exactly how I can earn points, what they are worth, and the rewards I can redeem with them. This allows me to immediately see the value and creates the desire to actually join.
Applying these ideas to your own explainer page will help minimize confusion and get customers excited to join your own fabulous program.
2) Leverage Email Marketing to Bring Back Lost Customers
If you think email is dead, think again. Email is a great tool that can be used to reconnect with “lost” customers who are a part of your rewards program. Points balance emails are a very effective way to re-engage these disinterested customers. By reminding them how close they are to their next reward, it becomes a lot easier to convince them to come back and earn (or spend!) more points.
These emails are extremely effective because they leverage the power of motivation. People get excited by the possibility of earning a reward, and this excitement is what motivates them to come back and engage with your brand.
You can also motivate your customers with redemption campaign emails, which encourage customers to come back and spend their points before they expire, or bonus points campaigns which allow them to earn more rewards faster. Both of these strategies serve as personalized updates on a customer’s progress, reaffirming that their efforts will pay off with a reward.
3) Offer Diverse Rewards to Encourage Customers to Engage
A rewards program can only be successful if customers are actually earning and redeeming points, and in order to encourage that behavior you need to offer rewards your target audience actually wants. Since they are the primary motivator for why your customers would join your rewards program, make sure you put some thought into what they would find especially valuable.
Some of the most effective rewards are discount coupons, gifts at checkout, or free shipping. However, don’t feel limited to just these three. Choose the rewards you believe have the highest perceived value with your customers to get the most bang for your buck.
Microsoft Rewards is a great example of a program that offers a diverse set of rewards to Microsoft’s massive customer base. Members of this reward program have high engagement levels due to their ability to donate to charity, redeem an Xbox Live membership, or even enter into a draw for an Xbox or Surface Pro with their points.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking customers are earning points simply for the sake of collecting them. The points are merely tools used to redeem the things they really want: rewards.
4) Use VIP Tiers to Add an Element of Gamification
Your best customers deserve to be treated as such, and implementing VIP tiers into your program is an easy way to do this. By setting milestones such as number of dollars spent, or loyalty points earned, you can move your customers through tiers that identify them as the most loyal.
Tiers give your rewards program an edge with milestones that provide a feeling of progress, motivating customers to reach them.
Sephora’s Beauty Insider is one of the best reward programs in the world because achieving VIB Rouge status carries a high level of prestige. Their tiers separate the best customers into the two highest tiers, making customers extremely proud to be part of this exclusive group.
VIP tiers don’t only benefit you, though. They also make your customer experience more enjoyable for your customers with gamification! Topps does a great job of gamifying their rewards program with progress bars and milestones. While these elements were originally designed for video games, they can do wonders for your program engagement.
5) Reward Customers for Different Valuable Actions
Giving customers only one way to earn points in your rewards program will eventually lead to customers disengaging from your program. Instead, try rewarding other valuable actions such as sharing your store on Facebook, signing up for your rewards program, or writing a review for one of your products.
Offering multiple ways to earn points will ensure your program’s long term success because it prevents your customers from getting bored of the typical loyalty program model. Traditionally, loyalty programs just offer points for purchases, but this can get tiresome without variety.
The EB Games Edge program is a fantastic example of a program that keeps customers active by providing many ways to earn points. Purchasing products, pre-ordering video games, and trading in products all generate points that can be later redeemed for rewards.
For an easy way to add more point-earning opportunities, try giving your rewards program a personal touch by awarding points on birthdays. You’ll keep your customers more engaged in your rewards program and extend their lifetime with your store.
6) Incentivize Word-Of-Mouth Referrals to Reach New Customers
Even though it’s well known that referral marketing is one of the most authentic and effective ways of acquiring new customers, many brands aren’t doing it. If you’re not, you should be!
Start creating brand ambassadors by rewarding customers when they get their friends shopping with your store. A simple way you can do this is by rewarding your new customer with a discount code for their first purchase, and thanking your existing customer with bonus points.
Dropbox even went a step further by adding a creative element to their referral rewards. By offering 500MB of free data storage to both people for every successful referral, happy customers will be sure to share Dropbox with as many friends as they can. This strategy is a win-win: it provides value for customers and brings in new sales opportunities for Dropbox.
Don’t just assume your customers will be spreading the word about your store - take action to actually ensure they are.
7) Make Your Rewards Program Visible
It makes no sense to go through the effort of creating a rewards program if no one is ever going to find it. Your rewards program might seem visible to you because you are so familiar with your own store, but keep in mind that new customers may not spend more than a few seconds looking for it.
North Face uses highly visible call-to-actions across many different areas of their site so people who are visiting for the first time will actually have the chance to find their VIPeak Rewards program.
Determine what areas of your site get the most traffic and then place CTAs that link to your explainer page on those pages. This will get more people aware of your program and if you’ve provided the right rewards to the right customer, more people joining it too.
Get Your Customers Using Your Rewards Program
Whether you use all seven of our tips or just mix and match a few, you can always improve your rewards program. Try leveraging email marketing, adding VIP tiers, giving customers more ways to earn, encouraging referrals with rewards, or any of our other tips and track how your customer loyalty metrics improve over time to make sure it’s made a difference.
Patrick Trochaniak is a Marketing Coordinator at Smile.io with a passion for business, start-ups, and learning something new. He spends too many hours at the gym and running his e-commerce shop.
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